Agriculture & Industry

  • Agriculture is the dominant economic activity along the Darling River, and includes irrigated horticulture, sheep, cattle, cereals, oil seeds and cotton.
  • There is relatively little irrigated agriculture on the Darling between Wentworth and Brewarrina.  However, there are significant irrigated crops and pastures on many of the tributaries of the Darling in northern NSW and southern Queensland.
  • Irrigation along the Darling River takes place principally in the Bourke, Menindee and Wentworth areas.


  • The Murray Darling Basin is a naturally saline environment in terms of its soils, geology and water resources.
  • When explorer Charles Sturt discovered the Darling River in 1829, he found the water too salty to drink.


  • Thirty native fish species have been recorded within the Darling River system.  All of these fish, with the exception of Bony Herring, occur only in Australia.
  • Seven fish species in the Darling River system are alien or introduced species.
  • Native fish habitats and populations have declined significantly over the past 200 years in the Darling River.


  • Compared to the rest of the Murray-Darling Basin, there is very little secondary industry or manufacturing in the Darling River catchment between Wentworth and Brewarrina.
  • Tourism is a steadily growing industry along the Darling River, particularly in national parks, and at Broken Hill, Mildura, Wentworth and Bourke.
  • Mining played an important part in the Murray-Darling Basin and particularly in the Darling River catchment.  This includes the abundant deposits of silver, lead and zinc at Broken Hill; opals at White Cliffs; copper at Cobar; and more recently mineral sands in the lower Darling region.